Page last updated at 08:21 GMT, Sunday, 17 May 2009 09:21 UK

Press warn Congress after poll win

Congress supporters in Delhi
A large mandate will come with big expectations

India's media have congratulated Congress on its sweeping election victory but warned the party that such a large mandate comes with great responsibility.

Congress now holds all the aces, newspaper editorials say, with little room for back-room deals.

The papers said the BJP had needed to expand outside its traditional strongholds to challenge Congress but failed badly, while the Third and Fourth fronts were dismissed as "flotsam".


With great power comes great responsibility. The people of India have reposed their faith in the Congress, the Gandhis and Manmohan Singh. The party and its leaders can do one of two things: become complacent, even arrogant, and abuse the mandate they have been entrusted with: or they can carry this enormous burden of expectation with humility and honesty and deliver on their promise of a better tomorrow.


The choices provided by the flotsam of the Third and Fourth Fronts have been exposed for what they were; at best, professional nay-sayers; at worst, fly-by-night operators. But with the [ruling] UPA [coalition] now without albatrosses like the Left around its neck, we expect the Congress-led government to press its foot more firmly on the gas of reforms.


The clear storyline of this election is the ignominious defeat of the Left and the drubbing of the BJP-led Right. There can be no ambiguity that people are asking them probing questions about their role in national affairs. It should indeed be a surprise if the organisational structures of these formations do not feel the impact of this.


Verdict 2009 gives little scope for the smaller parties or groupings to engage in back-room negotiations to decide the shape of the next government. The Congress holds all the aces. The prime ministership will not be up for bargaining, as some of the smaller parties were hoping.

The principal opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, needed to expand beyond its core support base to get ahead of Congress. This it was unable to do.


India's voters have refuted the theory that there is nothing that unites them at Lok Sabha (India's lower house) time, that we are moving away from a time of national swings towards a naturally fractured polity. The numbers will be crunched for weeks, but in the Congress-led coalition's unexpectedly strong showing from Assam to Rajasthan to Tamil Nadu, there is clear evidence that a truly national politics is within grasp again.

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